During our travels around India in 2013 and 2015, we could not skip visiting one of India's oldest places. At the time of its greatest glory and boom, Hampi was one of the largest and wealthiest cities in the world. The history of the settlement dates back to the 15th century when formerly called Vijaynagar had an unbelievable 500,000 inhabitants. After China's Beijing, it ranked the second biggest city in world comparison.
Today, the almost forgotten town of Hampi (Hampe) is located in the ruins of the original ancient city Vijayanagara as the center of the Vijaynagar Empire. Temples and ruins are listed in UNESCO as the Group of Monuments at Hampi, with the impressive Temple of Virupaksha Temple, which is widely used for religious and ceremonial purposes and is undoubtedly the dominant of the old city.
If you have enough time, Hampi is definitely worth visiting. Due to its remote location deep in the interior of the state of Karnataka, despite its immense cultural heritage, it is not considered a popular tourist attraction. While typical Indian and Russian tourists concentrate predominantly on the exotic coast of Goa, Hampi is sought after by somewhat more alternative young people. The atmosphere here is relaxed, natural and not so consume-oriented.
Hampi gives you enough space for the extensive exploration of the temple ruins, long walks and unobstructed enjoyment of the enormous energy of this sacred place.
Rent a bike for a day or two (for a few bucks) and explore the surrounding temples on your own. The only road leading from the village is definitely not busy, sometimes you get passed by a rickshaw with lazy tourists, but you will surely have plenty of space to enjoy the landscape.
Keep in mind that the town center located at the Bazaar is a sacred and very traditional place. You won't be able to get any alcohol nor meat here. There is no need for panic, cross the river to the other side, where you can expect a less strict atmosphere - German Bakery with excellent croissants and coffee. There is plenty of cozy terraces adorned with carpets and pillows, on which positively tuned wannabe hippie spent most of the day.
I would rank Hampi as one of the most interesting, the most impressive and the most relaxed places in all of India. As opposed to the rest of India, here you will really enjoy positive vibe and fresh, tasty food.
Incredible India: Hampi, Karnataka - Sunset Time-Lapse
overlooking Bazaar Road and Virupaksha Temple
Hampi, Karnataka - Set of Time Lapse videos showing Sunrise and Sunset.
View of Bazaar Road and Virupaksha Temple